Toovio’s technology involves realtime marketing solutions and is the personalization engine behind local venture Talking Fish, amongst 5 other global implementations, Smith explains over coffee in downtown Minneapolis alongside partner Chad Ashcraft.
“We originally started developing Toovio in Florida last fall, where our key resources were located…but we always felt that the company would end up going and growing in a different place once the technology was brought to market,” Smith says, noting the company is on track for $400k in revenue by the end of this year.
“At this point we know that Toovio is going to relocate, it’s just a question of where is ideal? Minneapolis, Austin and Indianapolis are all on the table right now,” said Ashcraft (right), describing some key areas of consideration: economic incentives, prospective customers, and talent sourcing.
Primarily funded by Smith’s consulting business called NeoFusion, Toovio has been bootstrapped to the tune of an estimated $1m to date. “With our collective background, progressive technology and revenues, I know an angel round is imminent,” says Smith, who has been living in Minnesotas for the past eight years.
“…and we see capital influx and relocation hand in hand,” Ashcraft reiterates, mentioning a series of investor pitches scheduled for Indianapolis starting next week.
Toovio currently has five full time and three contract employee’s, including third partner Roshan Bhatnagar, and plans to hire around ten more by next year based on sales projections over $2m. The SaaS model is sold both directly and white labeled through reseller channels to marketing departments inside banks, retailers, telecommunications and insurance firms.
“I’ve met a few solid people here in tech, but relative to my experiences across the US and abroad, it doesn’t seem like there’s a strong enough collective desire to embrace an outsider. When we talked with people in Indiana about our interests, their response was a lot warmer than most of what we’ve experienced in Minneapolis so far,” says Smith, describing some of the unexpected frustrations of “breaking into Minnesota’s tech industry.”
“No question we’re ready to jump into a new tech community and refocus on growth,” Ashcraft adds. “…and we hope to learn more about what Minnesota has to offer startups like ours sooner than later.”